The Day After Ashes

UnknownWhen I was in seminary, a group of friends who were interested in the emergent church movement got together for a Bible Study called “Lazarus at the Gate.”  Put together by the Massachusetts Bible Society, Lazarus At the Gate the mission of the study was to “promote simplicity for the sake of generosity.”  The original site has since been taken down, but I have loaded the Leader’s Guide here: Lazarus at the Gate – Economic Discipleship.  It is also available through World Vision and the Boston Faith and Justice Network.

The Study gets its name from a parable in the Gospel according to Luke, in Chapter 16:

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side.24 He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. 26 Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ 27 He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ 30 He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’” (Luke 16:19-31)

In our group, we studied Scripture and researched issues impacting the world’s poor like access to safe drinking water, sustainable farming practices, and disaster aid. We covenanted to a communal review of our own personal finances, and ultimately we all pledged to give a significant portion of money away to organizations that made an impact on world poverty.

41ZMLqghO-L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_One of those organizations was the Mennonite Central Committee.  If you have ever visited a “10,000 Villages” store, then you have encountered just one of the myriad ways in which the MCC pursues justice and fairness in the world.  Much of the work of the MCC focuses on addressing world poverty and injustice, and they do an incredible job of it.  But they also encourage those of us who live in the first world to tread more lightly on God’s creation.  One of the ways that I encountered them doing this during my time in seminary was through a popular cookbook called “More with Less.” Written in 1979, the cookbook had a novel approach to mealtime– why not encourage mealtime practices that minimized our impact on creation by sharing recipes for meals that most of the world relies on?  The cookbook is as much educational in terms of world poverty and eating practices as it is a tool for making your own dinner.

Because we were embarking on this journey, I figured it might be time to break out the cookbook.  Sure enough, we found some recipes that will help us stay within our budget but eat well at the same time. Our first recipe from the cookbook was “Caribbean Beans and Rice,” and it was delicious! We made just a few amendments: we halved the recipe, and used a can of tomatoes in place of a fresh tomato.  Enjoy!

Caribbean Rice and Beans

Soak overnight:
2 c. pinto beans or kidney beans
6 c. water
1 T. salt

In the morning:
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer just until tender about 40 minutes. Drain beans, reserving liquid.

Heat in large covered skillet:
2 T. oil or butter
3-4 cloves garlic
2 green onions, chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 T. lime juice
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 T. chopped parsley
1/4t. pepper
Saute’ for about 5 minutes.

Drained beans
2 c. rice
4 ½ c. reserved bean liquid (add water to complete measurement)

Thursday, Feb 19
Breakfast S: 1 c. oatmeal, 1/2 tbsp butter, tbsp b sugar, tea, egg $0.61
Mini Me: egg, 1/2 c oatmeal, apricots, orange, milk $0.81
Alex: 1 c. oatmeal, apricots $0.78
Lunch Alex: peanut butter sandwich $0.63
Mini Me: Chicken Nuggets (4), broccoli, leftover pasta, pretzel,1 c. milk $1.01
Sarah:cheese and salami sandwich $0.75
Dinner Caribbean Rice and Beans, leftover salad greens (4 servings total) $4.96

Total Spent Today


 Total Spent in Lent

Amount Saved (for One Great Hour of Sharing)



Shalom, Sarah

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